LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - A combination of lack of access to contraception, strict laws on abortion and stigma around terminations means millions of women each year resort to unsafe measures to end unwanted pregnancies, according to a major study published on Tuesday.
Here are some facts from the report by the Guttmacher Institute:
- Worldwide, there were an estimated 56 million abortions each year from 2010-2014, up from 50 million annually during 1990–1994. This was mainly due to population growth.
- An estimated 25 million abortions (45 percent) each year were unsafe.
- At least 22,800 women die from unsafe abortions each year.
- The abortion rate has declined markedly in developed regions during the last 25 years. But the rate has remained roughly the same in developing regions.
- The largest drop has been in Eastern Europe where the rate has halved. This is linked to the increase in access to modern contraception since the dissolution of the Soviet Union.
- Globally, a quarter of all pregnancies ended in abortion in 2010–2014.
- The estimated abortion-related fatality rate (the number of deaths per 100,000 abortions) dropped by 42 percent between 1990–1994 and 2010–2014.
- The highest annual rate of abortion in the period 2010-2014 was in the Caribbean, estimated at 59 per 1,000 women of reproductive age, followed by South America, at 48.
- The lowest rates were in Western Europe, Northern America and Northern Europe - 16, 17 and 18 women per 1,000 respectively.
- Abortion rates are similar in countries where abortion is highly restricted and where it is broadly legal.
- Between 2000 and 2017, 33 countries expanded the circumstances under which abortion is permitted.
- Most women who have an abortion do so because of an unintended pregnancy. An estimated 214 million women in developing regions have an unmet need for modern contraception.
- In 2014, the annual estimated cost of providing post-abortion care in developing countries was $232 million. Projections suggest this would drop to $20 million if all abortions were provided safely.
Reporting by Emma Batha, Editing by Robert Carmichael. Please credit the Thomson Reuters Foundation, the charitable arm of Thomson Reuters, which covers humanitarian news, women's rights, trafficking, corruption and climate change. Visit news.trust.org to see more stories.